What, After Catch and Release?
A recent e mail sent to me by an American client in reply to a film I posted in a recent blog - https://vimeo.com/242391861 Really got me thinking – My god, where are we with regard salmon stocks and salmon fishing!
Although he was relating to Steelhead, their numbers had declined to such an extent that, as a trial for that season, wait for it,,,,, Anglers were encouraged to break the whole hook off and fish with just the fly, with no hook at all. The tug being the drug! Speak about radicle! I can see no reference to this on their website, however, I do have this from a good reliable customer.
Here is the mail content from this friend - I watched with fascination The Slowdown. I like what our guy up the Clearwater River, Poppy, who runs the Red Shed Spey shop in Peck, Idaho, promoted last year: “The Tug’s the Drug.” The Clearwater River is a major tributary to the Snake River, where it joins in Lewiston, ID. The fish in Clearwater are big, burly, “B” run fish, whereas the ones in the Snake are smaller “A” run fish. Both strains have navigated about 400 miles and 8 dams to get here. We were having an awful run last year following a pretty bad run in 2016. Still there were lots of guides taking clients on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. At the “Spey Clave.” an event sponsored by Poppy, he actively encouraged guides and fly fishermen generally to become “The Tug’s the Drug” advocates by snipping the hook curve completely off the hook—just swing the fly. I did it. It’s a fine, fun way to fish.
So, this got me thinking, after the whole C&R debate of the late 1990s and early 2000s, how such an idea go down in the UK and Scandinavia? My own feeling is and was at the time - After banning drift nets, stopping nearly all costal netting, banning every lure that was ever effective in catching salmon; After spending 100s of Millions on research, encouraging people to fish less hours, now we cannot even keep a fish and they're asking me to put my fish back!! My god, if all those measures haven't helped the salmon, what the hell good with us putting a few fish back do?
However, instead of looking at the problem through my "Old Salmon Fishermans Eyes". Eyes that had grown up in the times of plenty. I begin to look at the problem from a slightly different angle, coming around to the hard "fact", we need to manage this as the declining resource it is and not of one of abundance, simply because this is reality today! Irrespective of what my father and those guys who lived I the times of plenty thought, their ideals and morals, we must do this in a different way.
However, in my heart of hearts, because I had seen none of the above having any significant effect on salmon stocks, I "knew" this would be nothing but a "measure to buy time"! So, it begs the question, what have we done with the time we have bought? Because frankly, anyone with even half a brain in their head who had been about salmon for any length of time knew/knows, this the decline will continue.
So the question is, as fishermen, would your love of the sport let you fish for, "just the tug"???